Pathein (Bassein) is a city (1983 pop. 144,092) and is the capital of Ayeyarwady Division in Myanmar and its forth largest city . Lying at the western edge of the Ayeyarwady River delta, on the Pathein (Ngawan) River 190 km west of Yangon, Pathein is accessible to large vessels and despite its distance from the ocean, it is the most important delta port outside of Yangon. It is also the terminus of a branch of the main railroad line. The town is a rice-milling and export centre.
The city's name may derive from Pathi (Burmese word for "Muslim"), due to the large population of Arab and Indian traders. The name was corrupted to Bassein during the British colonial period. The British built a fort and established a garrison in 1826, after the First Anglo-Burmese War.
Pathein is now a peaceful little town with a scenic waterfront, many Buddhist temples, and Pathein umbrella workshops. The colourful handmade umbrellas made in Pathein are famous in Myanmar.
Although once part of the Mon kingdom, Pathein has few ethnic Mon residents today. There are sizeable minorities of Karen and Rakhine.
According to the history, Pathein is much more earlier than Bagan and Mandalay. One can find so many colonial buildings such as port authority office,Old high schools, old church, old mosque etc.
A lot of buses from early morning to evening arriving to a city center. Update April 2019 - evening buses at 4pm, 5pm and night bus 9.30pm (Asia Dragon Express) costs 8000kyat
It is not possible any more for foreigners to travel to and from Yangon (March 2016).
There are many bus from Dagon Ayer Bus Station. You can find the bus for at the end of first and second street of bus station. Fortunately,You can catch a latest bus at the last street of bus station. The name of the bus is SHWE MINGALA and you can catch the last bus at about 5:30 in the evening. Over 50 buses go everyday and (update April 2019) 3500 kyats for per person.
There are lots of rickshaws and taxis.
The main sight of Pathein is Shwemokhtaw Paya, a Buddhist temple originally founded (according to local legend) by King Asoka of India in 305 BC. Bagan's King Alaungsithu raised the height of the stupa to 11 meters in 1115 AD, and King Samodogossa raised it to 40 meters in 1263 AD. The stupa is now 46.6 meters tall, with the topmost layer made of 6.3 kg of solid gold, the middle tier of pure silver, and the third tier of bronze, with some 829 diamonds, 843 rubies, and 1588 semi-precious stones.
There are a number of small umbrella workshops which have been operating for more than 200 years. The umbrellas are hand painted and are very cheap to buy (a few dollars each).
There are other places which can be visited around Pathein. There is a festival in Mawtin point which is 200 kilometres far away from Pathein. Mawtinzun Pagoda, officially known as the Mahāmakuṭaraṃsi Hsandawshin Myat Mawtin Pagoda, is a Buddhist pagoda in Ngapudaw Township, Pathein District, Ayeyarwady Region, Myanmar (Burma). The pagoda is located along the Cape of Mawtin on the Andaman Sea. The most interested fact is that it is submerged underwater throughout the year, except during the pagoda festival season. The pagoda would emerge from the water especially for this festival. Maw Tin Soon Pagoda Festival is held annually during the traditional Burmese month of Tabaung or during the international months of February and March. As soon as this festival finishes, the water level has rose. This is why, Maw Tin Soon pagoda looks like it is in the sea.
There is only one seaside pagoda festival in Myanmar and it is held grandly each year. This festival attracts thousands of visitors each year. This pagoda should be visited by people who are very interested in archaeology. This is because besides celebrating the festival, tourists can also enjoy the panoramic view of the beach. They can enjoy many things along the sand bank while drinking the cool coconut juice: picking the sea shells, playing around, biking, driving, swimming, taking photos, exploring the life of fishermen and the handicrafts business. They can pay homage to Shwe Nat Taung, Mya Taung and Shwe Taung pagodas, too.
The visitors, as the souvenirs for the trip, usually buy the dried fish, dry prawns and the sea products. The collectors can look for various sea shells on the shelf or can buy them at the stalls setup for that particular wares. The boat-trip to the delta and out to sea is very pleasant having fresh sea freeze. The visitors can explore the socioeconomic of local residents and enjoy the natural scenic beauty while taking a pilgrimage. Maw Tin Soon pagoda is one of the destinations to attract not only Myanmar visitors but also international tourists. It is popular in religious belief for Buddhists.
Take a tour of the surrounding rivers and wetlands, and get a taste of traditional village life in the Ayerwaddy Delta. The town has a number of older buildings that have survived from the colonial era. Many are clustered near the riverfront and south of the main market.
There is a lively scene along the waterfront beginning each evening at sunset. You can sit by the river and watch all the activity for hours, explore the street market, and meet local people who are eager to talk with foreigners. It is particularly pleasant in the area in front of the new Ocean Shopping Mall. On the second floor of the mall is a supermarket with a small area for eating snacks where students will often politely approach and request to practice their English skills with you.
Night market in front of Ocean Shopping mall starts at 5pm till 10pm, many local vendors with food etc.
Should try pathein famous local food "halawar" at Shwe lawin, Shwe myinpyin etc.
Aye Myat Cho IV TM 86
Shwe Sar Pathein Parasol Workshop
Pathein Parasol (Unique Icon of Pathein)
Pathein previously known as Bassein is famous for Pathein Parasol (Pathein Htee). Pathein Parasol is one of the well-known handicrafts and well known for its beautiful and unique creatures. The design of pathein parasol is different from Japanese and Chinese ones. These traditional hand-made parasols are stilled used by Buddhist Monks and Nuns. They can also be used for decoration in ceremonies. The Pathein Parasol can also be souvenir item for tourists. The production of Pathein Parasol is traditional family industry. We can discover and observe how Pathein Parasol are made at Shwe Sar Pathein Parasol Workshop. The address of Shwe Sar Pathein Parasol is No.653, Tawyakyaung Road. We can get there easily by taking taxi from downtown. At there we can buy Pathein umbrella and can observe how pathein umbrella are made, decorated and prepared. The people from workshop will explain the steps and procedures : how they prepare, how they painted with floral or landscape pattern on silk or cotton umbrella.
The craftsmanship (Pathein Parasol) was bought to pathein by U Shwe Sar who was a royal artist who served the King Thi Baw(the last king of KonBaung Dynasty). At first, umbrella was made of cloth and later then special designs were added. At that time, umbrella were only for high class not for the public. When the King Thibaw was abducted, his royal artist U Shwe Sar had to run away. He went to Pathein and started making parasol for his living and it became his professional career.
There are 56 stages to create a good Pathein Parasol. The cloth, bamboo frame, glue, silk, cotton, thread and fabric are essential raw material to make Pathein parasol. As there are so many steps , it requires a lot of team work. This traditional craft workshop are now difficult to survive. So we should conserve Pathein Parasol workshop to last forever as it is also one of the icon of Burmese culture.
There are a few 2* and 3* hotels in the town. Probably not necessary to book in advance.